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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 2/24/03

The Who: My Generation
1965 (2003) - Brunswick/Decca (Universal/MCA)

review by Matt Rowe of The Digital Bits

Super Audio CDStereoDirect Stream Digital

The Who: My Generation (SACD) Album Rating: A+

Audio Ratings (SACD 2.0): A+

Extras Rating: A+ (see details below)

Specs and Features

92 mins, single-sided, single-layered, super jewel case packaging, 17 bonus tracks not found on the original CD release (I Can't Explain, Bald Headed Woman, Daddy Rolling Stone, Leaving Here (alternate), Lubie (Come Back Home), Shout and Shimmy, (Love is Like a) Heatwave, Motoring, Anytime You Want Me, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere (alternate), Instant Party Mixture, I Don't Mind (full length version), The Good's Gone (full length version), My Generation (instrumental version), Any Time You Want Me (a cappella version), A Legal Matter and My Generation), liner notes insert booklet, track access, (30 tracks - see track listing below), audio formats: SACD DSD 2.0

Stereo mix & re-mix produced by: Shel Talmy
Mastered by: Erick Labson at Univeral Mastering

Roger Daltrey (lead vocals), John Entwistle (bass/vocals), Pete Townshend (guitar/vocals), Keith Moon (drums/percussion)

The Who has become an icon of rock music, almost to the same degree as have The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. And like those bands, The Who have released a wealth of music, much of it classic and timeless.

The Who went through a state of flux, early in the band's history, that eventually assembled the lineup we all know today - vocalist Roger Daltrey, drummer Keith Moon, bassist John Entwistle and guitarist Pete Townshend. Influenced by American R&B music, The Who, like many bands in that period, recorded many covers of R&B songs. One of the things that set The Who apart was that they could pull this off convincingly. And so the stage was set for another British band to make their mark into the annals of music history.

My Generation was the first official Who album produced, with intention, by Shel Talmy. Eventually, bad blood formed between the band and Talmy, resulting in a morass of legal issues. The results created a friction that's only recently healed. With the rift resolved, Talmy yielded up the original recording masters of My Generation - masters that contained a number of impressive alternate takes and covers, especially of R&B songs.

Last year saw the release of a 2-disc, deluxe CD edition of My Generation, remastered from these original tapes. This was a milestone for many reasons. In addition to its improved sonic quality, the release also presented a historical depth that revealed the underpinnings of a band evolving to the stature of giants. And now, My Generation has been issued in even better quality on SACD.

The entire original album is here. With the amphetamine driven statement of My Generation and the defining The Kids Are Alright, the psychedelic Circles, the great The Good's Gone and the James Brown covers Please, Please, Please and I Don't Mind, My Generation covers a wide area. But also included are alternate takes of Anyway Anyhow Anywhere and Leaving Here, along with different versions of other songs - 17 bonus tracks in all. With such a wealth of additional recorded material, this set becomes an essential document of the beginnings of one of rock's favorite acts.

The DSD-mastered SACD issue of this album goes a very long way towards bringing you the cleanest, most accurately sounding version of My Generation possible, all the while introducing Who fans to the benefits of SACD. With the clarity of the DSD process, this album's sonic improvements leap out at you from the very first song, Out in the Street. Every note, every vocal, every drumbeat is rendered here in the most satisfying detail. Even the silence is stunningly clear. This is truly the only way to fully enjoy the album. Nowhere else will you find the degree of clarity that's provided on this disc. As good as the CD reissue is, this SACD is just that much better. My Generation is also a compelling reason to upgrade to SACD. It's a 'next step' enhancement of one of rock's most important treasures.

The addition of a 32-page booklet insert into the super jewel case packaging enhances the release even more. The booklet features essays by Mike Shaw (discussing how My Generation came to be), Shel Talmy (talking about the sessions and the album itself) and Andy Neill (with a look at the impact that the album and the band had on its audience). Also included are rare photos, a reproduction of the original liner notes (that include the original misspellings of names) and extended credits. The cover of the booklet features the U.K. album art, while the tray of the disc shows the U.S. art. Interestingly, and to Universal's credit, they stamped the top of the disc itself with the original Brunswick label, giving an authentic feel to the package. With that kind of detail, how can any serious fan fail to be impressed? The original masters have also been found for Who's Next, so we can hope for its eventual release on SACD as well.

To hear decades-old music sounding a good as this is a clear indication of the direction we're headed with the advent of high-resolution music. It cannot be stressed enough just how important SACD releases of our favorite albums are. It's an evolutionary step in musical enjoyment. Some may grumble that we're being forced into yet another money-grabbing upgrade scheme by the music industry, but this is a scheme that I'll gladly dive into if it continually updates my library with music that sounds this impressive.

High-resolution audio brings back the thrill of clarity, releases the subtle depth of the music we know and love, and shatters the flatness of present digital reproduction. Despite the beauty of today's remasters on standard, redbook CD format, SACD and DVD-Audio inevitably present a better way to listen to your favorites. Anyone who doubts this needs only to listen to My Generation.

Matt Rowe
Visit Matt Rowe's MusicTAP ------ Music Flows There!

Track Listing:

Out in the Street
I Don't Mind
The Good's Gone
La-La-La Lies
Much Too Much
My Generation
The Kids Are Alright
Please, Please, Please
It's Not True
I'm a Man
A Legal Matter
The Ox
I Can't Explain
Bald Headed Woman
Daddy Rolling Stone
Leaving Here (alternate)
Lubie (Come Back Home)
Shout and Shimmy
(Love is Like a) Heatwave
Anytime You Want Me
Anyway Anyhow Anywhere (alternate)
Instant Party Mixture
I Don't Mind (full length version)
The Good's Gone (full length version)
My Generation (instrumental version)
Any Time You Want Me (a cappella version)
A Legal Matter
My Generation

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